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Let’s face it, ribs happen. And so do frankfurters on the beach, macaroni salad and ice-cream sundaes. It’s just the nature of summer and the endless string of barbecues that fills each afternoon. But there are still 26 days left of swimsuit season, so for every indulgence a little penance must follow. “The Little Black Dress Diet,” on bookshelves now, offers sun worshippers quick, if not extreme, remedies to counteract any figure-damaging hedonism. “The only way to change your body shape is by changing your lifestyle, eating habits and exercise,” says author and nutritionist Michael van Straten. “But there are times when you desperately want to lose those few pounds.”
To that end, van Straten offers radical strategies like how to detox in one week or lose seven pounds in seven days (to be followed only three times a year, he advises). Here, his plan to “beat the bloat” in 24 hours. And yes, we admit that eating dates and sipping parsley tea may not sound like the most pleasant way to while away a summer afternoon, but a little lemon water couldn’t hurt.
The night before: Drink two glasses of hot water with lemon to stimulate the kidneys and eliminate fluid.
Just before bed: Put a tablespoon of chopped parsley and a teaspoon of crushed dill seeds into glass. Add boiling water, stir, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour through a strainer and then sip slowly. Parsley is a natural diuretic and the dill eliminates gas.
First thing in the morning: Drink a large glass of hot water with lemon.
Breakfast: A small bowl of oatmeal made with half a cup of oats, half a cup of skim milk and one cup of water — no salt. One small pot of Yakult, a probiotic drink from Ireland, and a sachet of Beneflora, a food supplement. Both contain beneficial bacteria that aid with digestion.
Lunch: One apple, a generous bunch of grapes, one ripe banana (“they’re more digestible if they’ve started to go a little speckly,” van Straten says) and more hot water with lemon.
Afternoon snack: Two cups of fennel tea (available in health food stores) and six dates, the semidried variety. Fennel helps eliminate gas and dates are a source of fiber and iron.
Before heading out to sunset cocktails in that new mini: One glass of parsley tea and one spoonful of slippery elm (an herbal powder available in health food stores) mixed into a paste with a little cold water and topped off with boiling water and a teaspoon of honey. It acts as an antacid and digestive protector to soothe the stomach.
Editor’s note: After cocktails, chow down.